Commissions

Creative Commissions and Urban Portraiture

Michele del Campo is an Italian figurative painter. He was selected for the Columbia Threadneedle Prize in 2009 and is a frequent exhibitor at the Mall Galleries. We spoke to Michele about the creative and collaborative process of commissioned art.


Michele works on a large scale, creating huge canvases of bold colour with an emphasis on human gesture and environment. Infused with colour, youth and energy, they express a striking immediacy and sensuality. He approaches every work as a new and unique challenge. He constantly experiments, searching for new imagery, new textures, new colours. He often works intensely through the night, sometimes not stopping until 3am. The painting process usually takes around a month, but the entire project can take up to six months to complete as he likes to take his time to fully explore his theme, visiting locations, choosing models, taking several photographs and building up his composition before moving into the studio. 

Michele del Campo in his Studio

For Michele, his life is very much his art: “Art is my world, it’s not a weight but a thing to enjoy.” His studio is very much a social space, he invites friends to model for him or to join him in life drawing sessions. His works themselves often draw on his own relationships and encounters. Some are even autobiographical recreations, dramatic re-stagings of events from his own life. Inspiration also comes from other artists - he admires the poetical solitude and intense atmospheres of Edward Hopper, the melancholy of N.C. Wyeth and the boldness of Eric Fischl. For style, he turns to contemporary painters Antonia Lopez Garcia and Liu Xiao Dong, appreciating their realism and precise brushwork. 

 

Commission Case Study: ‘The Rest’

Michele del Campo, The Rest

Michele greatly enjoys the process of commission, believing that it offers new and unexpected perspectives for his work. He views the process as dialectic, enjoying the creative discourse it provides between patron and artist. He believes the creative process is enriched by the imposing of limitations, by working within a framework provided by another.

Michele Del Campo, The Rest in home

Michele created this image of two siblings for a Spanish client - the mother of the children - who was already an admirer of his work. Her dream was to have a painting of her two children in his style. She didn’t dare to ask Michele at first, not knowing whether he worked on commission, but fortunately she eventually dropped enough hints! Michele grabbed the chance to get out of his comfort zone, having never painted children before. It is this which he enjoys most about the process of commissioned art - the possibility of exploring new challenges, new territories and new forms of imagery. The combination of the two siblings appealed to Michele and he was happy to accept the proposal. He travelled to Madrid and spent a couple of days location-scouting for the perfect place to photograph the children. The final picture is actually a composite work, with Michele combining his favourite images of each of the children with a graffitied backdrop scene from London. Michele draws on skills learned from his education in photography and film-making to create the perfect final image. He almost takes on the role of a film director, combining all the right elements - location, figures and the objects which surround them - to create the final composition on Photoshop before he begins to paint. 

Michele del Campo, The Rest in Studio Tent

Since completing ‘The Rest’, Michele has gone on to paint many beautiful portraits of children. He is currently at work on for a large family portrait of two parents and five siblings in a swimming pool and a very challenging commission featuring two very young and hyperactive children! To commission your own portrait from Michele, please contact our Commissions Consultants.


Michele del Campo trained in Fine Art and Illustration in Madrid, Falmouth, Dundee and Milan. He exhibits internationally and his work will feature in the upcoming London Art Fair in 2016. His work was selected for the Threadneedle Art Prize in 2009 and he won the Winsor and Newton Oil Prize at the Mall Galleries’ Royal Society of Marine Artists Exhibition in 2012 as well as Second Prize in our Annual Exhibition of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters in 2013. He also featured in our Originals10 Exhibition in 2010 and this year’s Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition.

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Michele del Campo, The Rest (detail)

Mall Galleries Art Consultancy for Interior Designers

As the national focal point for contemporary figurative art Mall Galleries is a perfect resource for interior designers. With 30 years of experience and over 800 artists on the books, our art consultants have the knowledge and expertise both to source and commission artwork for interiors. 

Sue Williams A'Court, Urban Flowers

Sourcing Artwork

You know what you want, the trick is to find it. And that’s where we come in. Unlike a traditional commercial gallery we don’t represent a small selection of artists, but rather a body of Art Societies comprising of hundreds of member-artists. You can search our Artist Explorer for ideas or alternatively ask our art consultants who are still the best algorithms around. We’ll source what you are looking for quickly and easily, drawing both on our depth of knowledge and extensive databases.

Miriam Escort RP, Lorenzo

Commissioning Artwork

Commissioning is an involved and sensitive way of buying art for your clients. An artwork commission is a personalised experience that enables the buyer to take an active role in the development of a piece of work, perfectly suited to the space in mind.  Here we don’t just act as an introductory service but as a mediatory support, facilitating communication between yourselves, your clients and the artists. We oversee everything from development to production, ensuring all artwork is in keeping with your vision. We also handle contracts and related administration so you don’t have to. 

If you would like to know more about our service, you can book a consultation at your premises or ours.

Hugo Grenville, Sleeping Nude: Summer (photo credit: Andrew Ivan Green)

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Chris Rose, St Mary's Seals (detail)

Eleanor Watson on style, interiors and commissions

Eleanor Watson is a contemporary British painter. She exhibited at the Mall Galleries in 2013 and was a featured artist in our Penguins Commission for the Pension Insurance Corporation. She creates extraordinary images of interiors, devoid of figures, yet peopled with intense colours.


On Style 

I build pictures out of colour. I see my works as forming shapes of colour, or a series of patterns, rather than modelling an interior. I enjoy the trickery of the illusion of depth on a flat surface. Colour is the most important aspect for me, but my works are also quite linear - they have a very strong graphic feel to them. 

Eleanor Watson, Formerly 

On Interiors

I’m generally interested in enclosed spaces but I look at a lot of different work for inspiration, not just interior paintings. I’ve always been interested in interiors ever since I played with dollhouses as a child! Interiors are a complex thing, primarily they house you but obviously we have more rooms than we need and the decoration, furniture, objects are all a projection onto space of your personality, your choices, your social standing - all of those things. And they can shelter you and keep you from the outside world. I think the reason they appeal so much to me is the hope of creating a psychological, contemplative space, a place that you kind of explore in your mind without literally entering into - it’s an illusion, an imaginative space.

I’d love to work alongside interior designers - interior design fascinates me because it’s almost the opposite of what I do. To be able to design something for a space that works from different viewpoints and with different lighting, different textures, is really amazing. 


On Commissions

I’ve really enjoyed my experiences of commissions so far. I’m always conscious of audience. It’s impossible to completely block those thoughts from your mind, not to think of the reception the painting will get, and I think this becomes more pronounced when you’re working on a commission - you’re always considering someone else’s point of view so you have a slightly different relationship with the work. I think it’s important to be clear about what the commissioner wants and how willing I am to paint in that way. My past commissioners have always been very favourable to the way I paint and have chosen absorbing subjects so its worked really well. As long as I’m interested in the subject matter then I’m happy to paint!


Commission Case Study: ‘Fragment’ and ‘Unlocating’

Eleanor Watson, Fragment

These works were a commission for someone I knew. They had the most amazing house in Soho which they were sadly leaving and they wanted pictures of their house, in my style, to commemorate it. We had a conversation about particular aspects, or particular viewpoints that they responded to in the house and then they left me to my own devices. It was a really interesting project and they were very relaxed about how I approached it - they just wanted my work of their house. It worked really well and they seemed to really like them - they’re still up on their walls so that’s a good sign! I felt honoured because it was such a special space for them, their home. 

Eleanor Watson, Unlocating

 

Interviewed by Sasha Stamp


An artwork commission is a personalised experience that is different for everyone, at Mall Galleries we employ Commission Consultants to guide you through the process of commissioning an artwork from choosing an artist to choosing an artwork that is suitable for your home or business.

If you would like to find out more information regarding commissioning an artwork or book a private consultation, click here.

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Eleanor Watson, Formerly (detail)

Columbia Threadneedle Prize Artist's Tropical Birds Take to the Sky for Two Corporate Commissions

At the end of October the annual exhibition of the Society of Wildlife Artists, The Natural Eye, will be returning to Mall Galleries. We spoke to Fran Giffard about her recent trip to Réunion Island.


It’s been a busy and exciting year for artist Fran Giffard. Drawing penguins for a corporate commission, showcasing her art at solo exhibitions and travelling overseas to sketch exotic wildlife are just some of things she’s been doing. 

Earlier this year she was invited by TV production company Endemol to go to Réunion Island to be part of a short tourism film promoting the country to holidaymakers. The organisers wanted footage of various people at their professions on the island – there was a chef, singer, scuba diver, hang-glider and Fran, who took on the role of a hiking artist at work.

Sun Conure by Fran Giffard

She thoroughly enjoyed the experience, delighting in the lushness and exoticism of the island and its indigenous wildlife. Being asked to sketch naturally as they filmed, she saw birds she hadn’t come across before, and ones she had – Fran was pleasantly surprised to see birds similar to those in her homeland Bermuda, like the White-tailed Tropicbird.

Fran usually works in her South London studio, using photographic material for reference, so drawing out in the open from direct observation was an exciting new challenge for her. The birds would only be in sight for a few seconds as they flew overhead between the trees, but Fran says she managed to catch fantastic glimpses of their colourful underbellies. She was able to combine these moments with her prior knowledge of bird anatomy, obtained while working on previous commissions, to create her sketches.

Cockatoo by Fran Giffard

Fran had used this direct observational technique when taking part in what she names her favourite ever commission – the imaginative project for the Pension Insurance Corporation (PIC) who had asked Mall Galleries for artworks of penguins, the company logo.

She says she was a little nervous at first at the prospect of drawing the black and white penguins, as bright colouring and birds in flight are usually the focus of her work. However, she found that the dynamicity of penguins’ fluidly moving bodies was fantastic to sketch, as they look as if they’re flying when swimming in water.

Gentoo Penguins over Moleskine Diary by Fran Giffard

Fran says that the PIC commission has fuelled her inspiration for further artworks by widening her artistic vision of different potential subject matter, such as the monochrome penguins.

Interviewed by Jess Baxter


An artwork commission is a personalised experience that is different for everyone, at Mall Galleries we employ Commission Consultants to guide you through the process of commissioning an artwork from choosing an artist to choosing an artwork that is suitable for your home or business.

If you would like to find out more information regarding commissioning an artwork or book a private consultation, click here.

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Fran Giffard, Crimson Rumped Toucanet (detail)

Westbourne Communications’ - a fine art display to reflect company values

I just wanted to pass on all the amazing comments I have had regarding the art in the office. Everyone loves it – we even had a client in the other day that recognised the landscape in the small room as being his home town!

- Harriet Shaw at Westbourne Communications


Working in the opinion-changing business, Westbourne Communications knew that the art in their office could be doing more for them. They asked Mall Galleries to source a changing display of fine art pieces for their board room and reception area, to reflect their success, creativity and dynamism.

Mall Galleries source paintings for the Westbourne offices from our ever-changing exhibitions and our long-established links with artists across the country. Being local to the gallery, Westbourne Communications' staff receive invitations to the private views at the gallery and have the option to choose the works on their wall from a selection curated for them by Mall Galleries Art Consultants.

All curatorial advice, legalities, invoicing and installation are handled by Mall Galleries and we have seen an enormous amount of success with this curated art display in flux, which has engaged both staff and clientele alike.

Contact our Art Consultancy Team to learn more about art rental and our curatorial services.

 

St Mary's Seals Chris Rose SWLA

Continuous Movement June Arnold

New Places, Ideas and Histories in Art Commissions

Charlie Calder-Potts is a British artist and former Columbia Threadneedle Prize exhibitor. In the run-up to the 2016 prize we spoke to Charlie about her practice and the various commissions she has undertaken in the Middle East.


Charlie Calder-Potts is fascinated by the world. She delves into history and thoroughly researches what she sees to create large mixed media depictions of the places she visits. Her travels in the Middle East have led to captivating commissions that portray the displacement of people and the destruction of ancient sites. Her frequent visits to her sister in Lebanon have exposed her to historical ruins, which she has played games with her nephews amongst. This has evoked an intimate link between the history of the places she visits and the artwork she creates.

Charlie Calder-Potts, From moment then to moment

Charlie Calder-Potts, From moment then to moment

Charlie views the process of commissioning as a way of introducing her to different places, ideas and histories: ‘It’s a really important process, and one that needs to be sustained’. Her exhibition in Dubai led to a commission in Iraq, where she was hosted by a family who guided her to new ideas by taking her to historical sites such as the 4000 year old holy village of Lalish. There she was introduced to the Yezidi refugees, a group severely persecuted by ISIS, who have become a focus of Charlie’s Iraq series.

Charlie Calder-Potts, Whatever is Written

Charlie maintains that, ‘without the clients hosting me and showing me their world, I wouldn’t have embarked on this series of work. Their commission was hugely influential for me, and it has opened up a whole range of opportunities.’ The process of commissioning remains to be a two-way process that has enabled Charlie to discover new places, whilst ensuring that the client plays an integral part in the work.

Charlie’s work represents the interconnected nature of the world. She explores countries in the Middle East and merges them with the West to deconstruct perceptions fuelled by media that suggest that the Middle East is solely dangerous. Charlie draws upon the influence of Persian manuscripts on much of Western history and affirms that, ‘Our history is all connected, we have all influenced each other’.  

Charlie Calder-Potts, When Shadows Pass

Despite our increase in immediate access to news and information about other countries, Charlie sees an increasing disconnect between cultures, something that she wishes to break down. This desire to forge connections between seemingly disparate people and places has led her to Afghanistan, where she was the official war artist for the British Army. During her time in the Helmand province she used scrap metal from tanks upon which she painted civilians and the military.

Charlie is also excited by all the places within the UK that she is yet to discover, and she views commissioning as a crucial process that opens up ideas, ‘you can only read so many books or stumble across things, but someone can always bring a project to you’. She wishes for people to continue sharing their special places with her, whether it be a local medieval church or crumbling ruins, as an opportunity for her to scratch into the layers of history and uncover past stories.

Charlie Calder-Potts, The Dreadless Angel

An artwork commission is a personalised experience that is different for everyone, at Mall Galleries we employ Art Consultants to guide you through the process of commissioning an artwork from choosing an artist to choosing an artwork that is suitable for your home or business.

 

By Sophia Siddiqui

Find out more information regarding Mall Galleries Art Consultancy

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Charlie Calder-Potts, Whatever is Written (detail)

Toby Ward NEAC: Interrogating the past with art commissions

The New English Art Club Annual Exhibition was at Mall Galleries in June 2015. We spoke to Toby Ward NEAC about his commission pieces for Westminster Abbey.


Toby Ward NEAC has a fascination for human activity and the way we interact with the world around us, particularly through the collaborative process of commissions. He combines his experiences with fragments of memory and imagination to document history, the changing architecture of London and individual lives in a way of piecing together the past. 

Toby Ward, The Village Event

Interaction is central to Toby’s commissions, ‘There are no limits. It’s tremendous fun and I find commissions interesting and a challenge’. Toby has worked with a range of people, including individuals, groups of people and whole organisations. But what remains a constant is the relationships he builds with the people around him, ‘I always interact with the people I am working with. I don’t think of myself as purely a cold outsider. That’s part of the fun - enjoying other people’s company and becoming an insider’. There is always an active element in what Toby does and he enjoys capturing the interactions of different people, ‘You get an idea of the subject as a living and moving figure that is not fixed’.

Toby Ward, Lincoln Cathedral

Toby is currently six months into his three-year commission at Westminster Abbey. For the first time since 1740, the fabric of Westminster Abbey is being altered to create a state of the art museum. Toby is documenting the development of refurbishment, observing closely the entire journey alongside the builders, archaeologists and architectures that are working on the project. He has observed over 4000 bin bags of dust being removed from the attic of Westminster Abbey, and has sifted through fragments of priceless artefacts alongside archaeologists, ‘Other people’s rubbish is our history. It’s so interesting piecing it all together’. Toby has also documented a year in the life of Lincoln Cathedral in 2013, where as well as representing changes to the building, he maintains his fascination with the individual by ensuring that there is a portrait element to his work. He includes precise details of workers producing fresh stonework to depict the constant ongoing process of repair and development that occurred during his residency, whilst also ensuring that individuals remain recognisable in his work.

Toby Ward, Lincoln Cathedral

Toby’s past commissions have also included very personal, one-on-one partnerships. One of the most moving projects he has worked on was with an 86 year old man who had recently had a stroke. He wished to work with Toby to illustrate his life in retrospect. Toby would meet the man for two hours per week, and listen to stories about his life, which Toby would then transform into pictures. Together they produced a book of drawings together. Toby affirms that, ‘It was an amazing project to work with one man to realise what his life looked like. It was a very moving process to be a part of’. 

Toby Ward, Lincoln Cathedral

The process of commissioning is never fixed. The dialogue between the client and the artist is something that continually develops, and he finds working with someone who has the vision and enthusiasm for the piece of art to exist very rewarding. Whether he is documenting the three year refurbishment of a Church or painting the entire life of an individual, collaboration remains central, as a way of piecing together the past and documenting the passage of time.



By Sophia Siddiqui

 


An artwork commission is a personalised experience that is different for everyone, at Mall Galleries we employ Commission Consultants to guide you through the process of commissioning an artwork from choosing an artist to choosing an artwork that is suitable for your home or business.

If you would like to find out more information regarding commissioning an artwork or book a private consultation, click here.

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Toby Ward, New Flat Screen TV (detail)

Commissioning a Wildlife Artist

The Society of Wildlife Artists, The Natural Eye, was at Mall Galleries in October 2015. We spoke to Fiona Clucas SWLA about her commission of a field full of wildflowers.


A resident of the small village of Levens, Cumbria commissioned wildlife artist Fiona Clucas SWLA to produce an artwork depicting a particular field full of wildflowers seen over the main village wall. 

While working on the commission, Fiona found herself completely taken by this piece of undisturbed land. She is equally passionate about the habitat of wildlife as she is for the wildlife itself, so the surrounding wild hedgerows were of personal interest, particularly, the varied species of birds they attract, such as migratory swallows and finches.

Fiona’s place of work is literally on her doorstep. Her back garden provides the diverse mixture of flora and fauna that Fiona uses as inspiration when working en plein air. Her completed, or near-completed, preparatory sketches often sell as artworks in their own right – she says people love the immediacy of these drawings. 

The end result of this particular project was Moss Verge, Summer, a large painting of a picturesque field which is used mainly for grazing flock. Both client and artist were very happy with the result - enough to exhibit the painting in this years SWLA exhibition. Visitors to The Natural Eye last month would have had the chance to view the result of a commissioned artwork with real sentimental value.

Fiona Clucas SWLA, Moss Verge, Summer

An artwork commission is a personalised experience that is different for everyone, at Mall Galleries we employ Commission Consultants to guide you through the process of commissioning an artwork from choosing an artist to choosing an artwork that is suitable for your home or business.

If you would like to find out more information regarding commissioning an artwork or book a private consultation, click here.

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Fiona Clucas SWLA, Moss Verge, Summer

Wrap a yacht for a Christmas gift!

We become increasingly obsessed with the truly exceptional gift as the season of goodwill approaches.

With our Art Consultants the solution is easy. A bespoke work of art means you can wrap up a painting or sculpture of a yacht, super yacht, a sea container or your favourite relatives playing on a beach, to commemorate a special occasion. Commissioning a personalised work of art will create a lasting thing of joy forever.

For those who have left it a bit late a Mall Galleries Art Voucher can be arranged in minutes. These have the added bonus of allowing the recipient to be part of the creative process.

Mall Galleries, run by the charity the Federation of British Artists, has over 30 years of art consultancy and commissioning experience. We run a well-respected portrait consultancy from our offices in central London and have further specialist knowledge of a variety of genre painting, such as marine and wildlife art.

For more information please contact commissions@mallgalleries.com or ring 00 44 (0)20 7 930 6844

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Lucy McKie ROI, Free Spirit

Pet Portraitist and Coastline Lover: Antonia Phillips and her Commissions

At the end of October the annual exhibition of the Society of Wildlife Artists, The Natural Eye, will be returning to Mall Galleries. We spoke to Antonia Phillips SWLA about her commission work.


Antonia Phillips SWLA is an artist who enjoys the coastal fringes: where land meets sea. She talks to us about her current commission piece, which represents everything she loves about painting.

This commission is a notably personal one to the client. Her husband passed away a few years ago, and he had loved the area of St Aldhelm’s Head on the Purbeck Coast, especially the light, colours and circling gulls. The client wanted a landscape painting of this sentimentally important place to remember him by.

It was seeing a work of Antonia’s online that prompted an idea for a memorial piece to be created in a similar style to hang in her house. Antonia gladly accepted the project, as she knows and loves the Dorset coast herself.

Once she had talked through the concept with the client and discussed the original piece that had caught her eye, Antonia began her work. She made a colour sketch of the area, which the client is extremely pleased with, and continues to work on the final acrylic painting.

Not all of Antonia’s commissions are of coastal landscapes. Trained in Natural History Illustration, Antonia often undertakes pet portrait commissions, a task she thoroughly enjoys as she loves animals. She would spend some time at the home of the client with the chosen pet to try and get to know the animal’s personality, while taking some photographs and making preliminary sketches.

Antonia is one of our many artists available for commission through Mall Galleries. Whether you’d like a pet portrait or a memorial gift, our commissions consultancy matches you to the right artist to suit your needs.

Antonia Phillips, Tilly

Interviewed by Jess Baxter


An artwork commission is a personalised experience that is different for everyone, at Mall Galleries we employ Commission Consultants to guide you through the process of commissioning an artwork from choosing an artist to choosing an artwork that is suitable for your home or business.

If you would like to find out more information regarding commissioning an artwork or book a private consultation, click here.

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Antonia Phillips SWLA, Green Island